April 2nd, 2010, 08:44 PM
Cody Firearms Museum
I've wanted to look at some original Hawken rifles for some time, did a lot of searching on the web, but found shockingly little out there in the way of detailed photos.
I'd heard of the Cody Museum in Wyoming, but hadn't tried looking for it on-line until today. Sure enough; they have a searchable database of firearms photos, including a fair number of various Hawken rifles;
Old Colts, Sharps, quite a bit of stuff, and the photos aren't too bad.
I installed an iron, Hawken-style, "pineapple" cap box on an Investarms caplock rifle just for inletting practice, and I've been wondering how to engrave it, design-wise. Most of the Hawkens came without cap boxes, and the few that have them aren't typically engraved. Suits me. I haven't liked some of the modern repros that were engraved to look like actual pineapples. Too Carmen Miranda for me.
I did find original Hawkens with quite nice engraving on the lockplate, some on a toe plate, and some on one triggerguard, but for the most part the Hawkens were very plain and utilitarian, as has been widely stated. As far as what's "correct" for a Hawken; they had some broad design and styling parameters, within which it seems anything goes.
Some have oval wedge key escutcheons, some have octagonal escutcheons, and some have none. Some have pins instead of wedge keys. Fullstocks and halfstocks can both have the later style triggerguard, and one at least has a pistol grip stock with checkering, and a more modern-looking triggerguard. They'll be furnished in brass or iron, or both, and some of the craftsmanship is, again, purely utilitarian. Modern hand-made repros, done by the masters, tend to far exceed the standards of the run-of-the-mill originals, though original examples of fine detail work are there.
Anyway; just thinking aloud. I thought some of you might find the museum interesting. I must go there and visit in person one day, camera in hand.
April 2nd, 2010, 09:19 PM
Here's a Hawken that might interest you..
Mariano Medina was a trapper out of Taos. He went to St Jo in 1833 and got Jake to make him a fancy rifle while he was there.
The original is in the Denver Museum of History.
Mariano made the stars out of Mexican coins and inletted them himself along with the belly shield after he wore the stock out carrying the rifle across the pommel of his saddle.
After the beaver trade died, Mariano built a fort and a ferry across the Big Thompson river which became known as Mariano's crossing near what would later become Loveland CO.
This is a replica of the rifle Mariano called "Old Lady Hawken's"
The builder made pencil rubs of the stars and belly shield of the original. If there is a nail worn out on the original, it is worn out on the replica too.
This rifle is 54 caliber. Mariano's started out as a 54 but after many years he had the barrel freshed out to 58. He later gave it to a General in the Colorado guard whose family gave it to the Museum.
If you ever decide to check out the Cody Musuem, figure on at least two days to see all of the exhibits. I only spent one day and need to get back there again.
April 2nd, 2010, 10:38 PM
Cody is one of the places anyone who loves guns MUST visit. The museum is a two day deal. Down town is fun. There are around 7 gun stores and two gun makers.
April 5th, 2010, 09:55 PM
Thanks, Iggy (that is nice-- yet another example of the wide variability of the Hawkens' work, with the earlier style trigger guard and longrifle style patchbox on a halfstock) and oldfortyfive.
I just have to find more time to spend on my rifle projects.